Family raise cash for soldier who lost legs in Taliban attack

Andy Allen and Thomas Keekan, from AA Veteran Support accepts a cheque for �2, 200, proceeds from an Auction held in Cookstown Orange Hall, from organisers of the event Alan Gourley, Glenn Espie, Ena Wilson and Dougie Gourley.INMM4912-198ar.
Andy Allen and Thomas Keekan, from AA Veteran Support accepts a cheque for �2, 200, proceeds from an Auction held in Cookstown Orange Hall, from organisers of the event Alan Gourley, Glenn Espie, Ena Wilson and Dougie Gourley.INMM4912-198ar.
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By Patricia Devlin

A COOKSTOWN family has helped raise over £2000 for a Northern Ireland soldier who lost both his legs in a Taliban attack.

85 year-old Ina Wilson, along with her family and friends, raised the cash after hearing the story of how Royal Irish Regiment soldier Andy Allen lost both his legs in a Taliban bomb

Andy was just 19 and on patrol when a bomb exploded underneath him in 2008.

The west Belfast man lost his right leg immediately and had to have his left leg amputated 10 days later.

He was also partially blinded.

Ina, who is from the Moneymore Road area of Cookstown, said Andy’s story pulled at her heartstrings and she decided to organise a fundraising event to raise cash for the disabled soldier.

“After hearing Andy’s story I mentioned it to a few of the family to see what we could do to help,” Ina told the MAIL.

“We decided to have an auction, and with the help of family and friends, and an auctioneer, we organised the fundraising event for October 19th.”

The auction was held in the Orange Hall, Fairhill and a number of items, including a spinning wheel and chair, were auctioned off.

Ina, her family and friends raised a total of £2100.00 and presented the cheque to Andy himself on November 16th.

“When I saw Andy in person it just brought tears to my eyes,” added Ina. “I just thought; ‘that could easily be my grandson’.”

Ina said that from the success of the last fundraising event, she may organise one for the spring.

She would like to thank all those who helped with the auction, donated and brought items.